Smell is the said to be the strongest trigger to memory. Here are seven smells that I associated strongly with my adopted home.
Pinetrees after Christmas waiting to be picked up
On one specific day in January you are allowed to place your used trees in the street to be picked up. On that day the street is full of the smell of pine. If people forget and put it out just one day late, you get to “enjoy” that smell for several weeks.
Roasting Chestnuts in the Winter
Despite singing about roasting chestnuts over open fire throughout my entire childhood, I first encountered people ACTUALLY doing it in Germany. Setups range from half oil drums and a guy to little huts. The nuts roast and are served warm in paper funnels. I don’t actually like eating them, but they are nice to hold in the freezing air.
Stale beer at the deposit machine
Pfand is the German word for deposit. Beer bottles are either 8 cents or 15cents. Coke bottles are similar. Toss the bottles in ass first to the hole and they get counted and sent to a room behind the machine to be sorted. Often there are spills and bottles aren’t always fully empty. This gives the wafting air out through the hole a distinct smell not unrelated to under the bleachers at a baseball stadium.
A freshly sold pretzel
I could add just the smell of a bakery, but the specific smell is that of a pretzel. It isn’t just bread, there is something more about it. Maybe the remnants of the laugen (lye) or something else I don’t know. It is totally German. Since smell is a component of taste, it just makes the mouth water to smell and see a tray from the oven.
Ok, I know it is stereotypical, but this is still the land of sausage. When I smell the slightly greasy meaty smell, I smell Germany.
Hoppy smell of a freshly popped beer
To counteract the sour smell of the deposit machine, I think of a freshly popped beer. A local brewery that I like sells beer with pop caps. There is a little metal cage that keeps the rubber ringed cap on. A little push and the whole thing pops with a great sound. Then you get a rush of the hoppy smell of a perfectly fresh beer. Ahh.
Fresh Land Air
“Frische Landluft” a roommate called it. Fresh land air as translated is the smell of manure from the fields up in the valley that wafts down into town when the winds shift. Not a great smell, but it certainly reminds me of home.
Do you associate places with smells?